“Photographs are like a return ticket to a beautiful moment”
Being a photographer and a travel enthusiast I travel a lot. Though it is a short weekend trip or a long road trip to escape the hustle bustle of city life. It is like a meditation for me and my wife. Moreover, it is like something that we both cannot live without.
One of the integral parts of any of our travel is taking pictures and storing those priceless moments in our camera.
All these years of traveling, I made several mistakes of not carrying the right photography gears and equipment. And finally, I came up with this checklist. So here is the list of all the essential photography gears that you should carry on your journeys.
This is the first thing you should pack for any of your travel. There are many different types of cameras available and each one comes with its own unique purpose. Following is a list of different types of camera and the way they are useful.
If you are a serious photographer and really what to capture some breathtaking pictures then a DSLR is a must. The level of manual control it gives you is far better than any other camera. DSLR is available in 2 formats DX (Crop sensor) and FX (Full sensor). FX cameras are a bit costly than the DX ones but their price is worth the picture quality you get. For traveling, I will suggest carrying 2 camera bodies with a different lens mounted in order to save time.
- Point and Shoot
Personally, I always carry a point and shoot camera with me. Being small and portable it gives you the flexibility to carry it everywhere, though you are eating in a restaurant or want to quickly capture a moment, point and shoot cameras are easy to go. There have been many times when my point and shoot helped me capturing quick moments that I would have missed by setting up my DSLR
- Video Camera
Carrying a video camera is optional until and unless you really want to capture high-quality videos. My wife loves to capture videos, it helps us live those travel moments again. If you really want to make travel videos make sure you carry the right cameras. Here is a quick recommendation :
Go-Pro: For capturing all your actions
DSLR: Good for videos but sometimes you feel limited with the controls as DSLR are not made for videos
Camcorder: This is what I will personally carry and recommend
- Mobile Phone Camera
There is no need to mention mobile camera specifically as everyone carries one these days. But I thought of mentioning it in the checklist. Mobile phones are good for taking quick shots and selfies. Also, your photos are right there on your phone ready to share with family and friends.
You only have to carry lenses if you are carrying a DSLR with you. Mostly every DSLR comes with a kit lens which generally covers a small focal range and the picture quality is also not good compared to the professional lenses. I personally carry a set of lenses to cover a wide range of environments and to get the best shot possible.
- Wide-angle lens
There are many moments where you want to capture vast view in front of you in one single shot. But the standard lenses are not made for this, you need a wide-angle lens which is specially designed to capture.
- Prime lens
A prime lens is good for portrait photography but it is always good to have one in your gear bag just in case you want to capture beautiful portraits of your travel companion or of locals.
- Telephoto lens
One of the must-have lens for any travel/wildlife photographer. I bet you don’t want miss an action/moment just because it is far and you can’t zoom to capture the right feel of it.
All above-mentioned lenses are designed and made for specific scenarios, but you need to have a standard lens. I personally prefer 24- 120mm, it gives you a good focal range to play around.
Many times it happens that you are standing in front of a beautiful landscape with your camera in hand. But when you take a picture and review it, it is either overexposed or don’t have the right details. If this is the case then all you are need is a lens filter. In general, there are 3 types of filter and each has its own benefit.
I never leave my home without a polarizing filter. When photographing landscapes, I often use a polarizing filter to spice up the colors, darken the sky and reduce haze. Polarizing filters are a must when photographing waterfalls or other wet scenery with vegetation.
- UV filter
The purpose of a UV / Clear / Haze filters today is to simply protect the front element of a lens. These days most of the camera sensors are UV protected. So you don’t need them much but still good to have some extra protection
- ND filter
The purpose of neutral density filters is to reduce the amount of light that gets to the camera and thus decrease the shutter speed and increase exposure time. These types of filters are particularly useful in the daytime, because of the abundance of light that cannot be significantly reduced by stopping down the lens aperture and decreasing ISO.
No one likes blurry pictures and the only way to get a clean sharp picture is to use a tripod. There is so specifications to follow but chose the one that is fit for you. I personally carry a lightweight with ball head mount, just kind of comfortable with it.
A compact tripod is good for conditions where you want to clamp your camera to a railing or a pole. They are small, cheap and easy to carry and they can really be useful sometimes.
I personally never use a flashlight in my travel photography, it just kind of override the natural colors and beauty of the moment. But yes I do keep one in my bag in case it is needed.
6. Batteries and adaptors
- Extra batteries
Do carry some extra batteries for your camera and flash. You might not need them all the time but you don’t want to regret in case your battery runs out while capturing special moments.
- Power adaptors
Whatever you do to save them your batteries are going to run of charge and definitely you will need power adaptors to recharge them. Make sure to carry international adaptors if you are traveling overseas.
- Memory cards and Readers
If you are travel photographer you will need a lot of memory cards. My suggestion is to carry at least 4 extra high-speed memory cards. Do carry SD card reader also in case you want to plug your card to take a backup on a laptop.
- Backup hard disk
Personally, I never lost a single photo but I always have this habit of keeping a backup of all the photos on a hard disk. This is completely optional and depends on your personal preference.
8. Camera protection
- Camera strap
A good and comfortable camera strap complements your photography. The one that comes with cameras are good but hanging such a huge camera on your neck can be a pain. Explore some third party straps. Personally, I prefer shoulder straps from black rapid. They are good for traveling, your camera is always secure and handy to use any moment.
- Camera bag
A good camera bag is must for protecting your camera from any jerks or impacts. The choice is yours based on what best works for you but here are some features that you should look for in any camera bag.
The camera should be easily accessible
Should have dedicated a place for extra lenses and flashlight
Laptop/Tablet pocket in case you are planning to go for one
Total number of pockets
- Cleaning Kit
When you travel you explore extreme locations to get that one perfect shot. And of course, you don’t want to dissatisfy yourself with a dust/fingerprint spot in your image. It is always recommended to clean your camera regularly to ensure that your lens and sensor are crystal clean.
- Rain cover
Its always better to be prepared and have a rain cover handy in your bag, weather can surprise you anytime.
Last but not the least do remember to carry your laptop or tablet with you. It helps you back up your pictures. Or if you want to review or develop the moments you have captured.
I hope this checklist will help you better prepare for your next Photography Adventure.